ing for the SBIR program. He asked if this advocacy was the essential role of the program manager, to promote the introduction of science and technology into acquisition programs, whether this would be appropriate for other science and technology activities. He also asked whether the other science and technology areas were transitioning to his program as he had SBIR transitioning to his program.
Mr. McNamara said he was active as an SBIR advocate because before he arrived, the SBIR had been largely overlooked or assigned low value, with no linkage to acquisition. He said that the acquisition offices were the key agents in moving SBIR projects into Phase III. Also, he said that his office now did “a pretty good job,” partly because he had been around long enough that the SBIR was ingrained in the organization. People now wanted to work with it and welcomed opportunities to submit their topics.
He added that some of his sister organizations did not seem to be quite as interested yet. They did use the SBIR money and had started to treat it like a program, but they had not had Phase III successes. He said that a common problem for them was that they could not interest the prime contractors in their projects. The submarine program tried to get its SBIR projects to the prime for each new technology under development. It also had an instant market in the inservice community, which allowed them to move their products out to other markets within the Navy much more rapidly. The best strategy, he said, was not to tie a project to a single large program, such as a single Virginia-class submarine, but to introduce several dozen new technologies or “back-fits” per year, and to become known for producing specified R&D solutions.